MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With summer workouts in full-sweat and the start of West Virginia preseason camp less than 40 days away, MetroNews continues revealing our Top 10 Most Pivotal Players for the 2014 season. Today we highlight a rehydrated junior who holds the key to a new defensive scheme:

Position: Nickel back/ Spur linebacker
Class: Junior
Measurables: 6-1, 210

After two seasons in the 3-4, West Virginia will sport a 3-3-5 look that essentially replaces a conventional linebacker with the more-athletic Dillon. It’s a hybrid role similar to how Baylor deployed All-Big 12 selection Ahmad Dixon, directed at coping with the Big 12’s spread offenses.

Dillon possesses the versatility to cover slot receivers and blitz off the edge. Showing good ball skills,he was evolving into a playmaker late last season when his body seized up after the overtime loss to Texas. That frightening bout with dehydration sent Dillon to the ICU and sidelined him for the final two games.

By spring practice, he appeared completely recovered and had added 20 pounds to his frame. That was encouraging to new coordinator Tony Gibson, who worked one-on-one with Dillon as safeties coach last year.

Safety Karl Joseph, after racking up 172 tackles the past two years, will rightfully garner the preseason hype in WVU’s secondary. Yet it’s Dillon’s performance that could determine whether Gibson’s first year running the defense is a successful one.

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  • Dave

    KJ can be the X factor. I have a feeling our defense will be much improved this year.

  • any major dude

    I thought Dillon had one of the better games at spring game in Charleston. Good size for his position, good physical skills and another season of experience, new coaching and a new scheme. Hard to find a big downside here.

  • FNP

    Defense needs to step up big time this year. Get pressure on the QB and blow some ppl up in the flat. You'll see a fast D in the scheme we should've never abandoned.

  • Mountaineer Fanatic

    I for one like that kind of nuts. Penn State has a record of winning even at extreme odds. Now maybe WVU will win also. LETS GOOOO MOUNTAINEERS.

  • notorious

    Tom Bradley...still uneasy about a Penn St lifer infiltrating Morgantown. Those people are nuts, and this guy was a ringleader.

  • Shawn 108

    This guy is going to be beast. I really think that this defense is going to shock people this year. Gibson is a good coach Bradley coached years under Jo Pa these guys have got to play with a chip on their shoulders!!

    • Mister Man